There were SO many storylines heading into Saturday's race at Daytona. Guys fighting for the regular season championship, guys fighting to get the last playoff spot available, guys trying to get a win to prop up their resume to hopefully get them a job somewhere next year. I love that all of this was on the line at one of the most unpredictable tracks - DAYTONA. Superspeedways give literally anyone in the field a chance to win due to the style of racing. Unlike other tracks that play to the advantage of guys with bette equipment, Daytona gives the underfunded teams a chance to steal a win - just like we saw with Michael McDowell in the Daytona 500 earlier this year.
Nothing beats the night race at Daytona in my opinion. It's the only 1 of 4 races like this a year that is scheduled to take place under the lights, which makes it even more special in my opinion. It's also one of my favorite races to gamble on, because there is money to be made if an underdog steals the show.
It looked like it was a real possibility most of the night. Lots of guys that don't normally run up front were giving in their all to try and win not only for the glory, but to sneak into the playoffs. It was a pretty hectic race through the first few stages, but most of the guys kept their cars clean. Nobody wanted to take a big risk to get themselves taken out of the race before things came down to the wire. That strategy worked out for most, until things got wild with less than 20 laps to go.
This wreck had huge implications because Tyler Reddick was involved. He was doing battle with his teammate Austin Dillon for the final playoff spot on points. Incredibly, his crew was able to do some quick repair work to keep his car on the track. But this crash was just the beginning of the shakeup. Another big one happened a few laps later. And this one took out a bunch of guys that NEEDED to win, including Matt DiBenedetto, who I may or may not have had a huge sum of money on to win....fack.
This shook up the field BIG time. But things still set up for a wild finish. As always at Daytona things were intense until the final corner, where another big crash finished things off.
Ryan Blaney took home his second straight victory. Because he was already in the playoffs, Tyler Reddick secured the final playoff spot on points. Second place finisher Chris Buescher had one of the best races of his life, but we learned hours later that his car actually failed post race inspection and he was ultimately disqualified.
So the updated top 10 ended up looking like this
The 16 driver playoff field is now set. Did your favorite driver make it?
Here are the full extended highlights from the race at Daytona. Can't wait to get the playoffs started next week!